"Familiarity breeds contempt." We have all heard this saying and there is truth in it. Jesus himself said that a prophet has no honor in his own country. People have this tendency to hold a higher estimation of strangers than of those they know the best, even though the stranger may be a much less noble person. This is a problem when it comes to the preaching of the Word of God. After a while the people get to know the preacher a little better and then he is diminished in their eyes to a mere human, like them, and they expected signs and wonders. Beware, they said the same thing about Jesus. They could not hear from God through him because they knew him, and his brothers and sisters. Don't miss God because of your estimation of the person preaching his Word.
New Heart, New Spirit_27 Ezekiel 31:1-18This message was given in 587 B.C. Ezekiel compared Egypt to Assyria, calling Assyria a great cedar tree. The Egyptians were to look at the fall of the mighty nation of Assyria (whose demise they had seen) as an example of what would happen to them. Just like Assyria, Egypt took pride in its strength and beauty; this would be its downfall. She would crash like a mighty tree and be sent to the grave. There is no stability apart from God, even fora great society with magnificent culture and military power. Pride is a horrible evil in the sight of God. We become guilty of sinful pride when we exalt ourselves above others. Exalting self degrades, shames, and humiliates others. Sinful pride causes a person to become conceited, haughty, and egotistical. Exalting ourselves above others can lead us to mistreat people through prejudice, discrimination, favoritism, and partiality. In exalting themselves above others, some leaders become oppressive, brutal, and violent. Such rulers often abuse their own citizens as well as oppress people of other nations. This is why God hates pride and says that it will lead to destruction.
Jesus summarized all of our duties to our neighbor in these few words: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
thyself." But who is my neighbor that I am commanded by God to love?
The Jewish rabbis interpreted the word "neighbor" as a fellow Israelite. Therefore, there was no obligation to
love a non-Israelite. Jesus clearly condemned that very narrow, unbiblical interpretation.
We can do exactly the same thing when we apply passages that speak of our obligation to love our neighbor to
only those of the same nationality, color, church, or those that we already like. However, such a view will not
hold up to Christ's interpretation as to who our neighbor is that we are bound to serve by way of Christian
The late Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionary biologist and professor at Harvard University was one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. He said this: "Biological arguments for racism may have existed before 1859 (when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species), but, Gould says, they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory." So if the black man is a lesser evolved primate than the white man, then why not treat him differently? Why not make him drink from different water fountains, use different bathrooms? If the German Aryan race is the master race like Hitler believed, then why not eradicate the Jews and other inferior races? BUT, if the brown man, black man, white man, red man, and every other man is made in the image of one Creator God then we have no right to treat any man different. That's the unity of the human race in Adam.
Jesus saw the Samaritan as one who, with child-like faith, took this as such an undeserved personal favor, that he responded in a very passionate and personal way. The Samaritan looked past the hand and sought the heart of the one who was so kind to him. This is what Jesus is looking for.
This sermon was preached on October 9, 2022 at Antioch Presbyterian Church, a mission work of Calvary Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America located in Woodruff, South Carolina. Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. preached this sermon entitled "The Dangers of Prejudice" on Job 11:1-12. For more information about Antioch Presbyterian Church, please visit antiochpca.com or contact us at [email protected].